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Listeria in ice cream? Why some frozen desserts are being recalled in Canada

Several frozen desserts are being recalled in Canada because of possible Listeria contamination. Claudia Nass/Getty Images

Several frozen desserts are being recalled in Canada because of possible Listeria contamination.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) issued the recall Thursday for six products sold by U.S. brand Soft Serve on The Go after cases of Listeria illness were reported in the United States.

The affected cups of ice creams, sorbet and frozen desserts were sold in Ontario and Quebec.

A food safety investigation is being conducted, which may lead to the recall of other products, CFIA said.

So far, no illnesses have been reported in Canada for the products flagged by CFIA.

The agency is advising Canadians to not consume or distribute the recalled products and if they were purchased to throw them out or return to the store.

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Soft Serve On The Go Frozen Dessert Recall
One of the recalled frozen desserts by ‘Soft Serve On The Go’ pictured here. Canadian Food Inspection Agency

CFIA said the recall was triggered by an alert in another country without naming the U.S., where several Soft Serve On The Go ice cream cups were pulled from 20 states this week.

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At least two people have been hospitalized in New York and Pennsylvania, but no deaths reported, according to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“The true number of sick people in this outbreak is likely higher than the number reported, and the outbreak may not be limited to the states with known illnesses,” the CDC warned in a statement Thursday.

Listeria monocytogenes is a type of bacteria commonly found in soil and it causes food-borne illnesses in humans.

Food contaminated with Listeria may not look or smell spoiled but can still make you sick, CFIA says.

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Kale salad mix recalled due to possible Listeria contamination

Foods that are more susceptible to Listeria contamination include: soft cheeses, unpasteurized (raw) milk, deli meats, raw or undercooked meat, poultry and fish as well as refrigerated smoked seafood.

Typical symptoms associated with Listeria illness include gastrointestinal problems — like diarrhea, abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting — as well as fever, muscle aches, neck stiffness and severe headache. In serious cases, it could even cause deaths.

While Listeria infections are rare, the risks are greatest for pregnant women, their unborn children, newborns, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems.

Although infected pregnant women may experience only mild, flu-like symptoms, the infection can lead to premature delivery, infection of the newborn or even stillbirth, according to CFIA.

In 2008, Canada experienced its worst listeriosis outbreak, with 57 total cases confirmed and 22 deaths traced back to deli meats produced at a Maple Leaf Foods facility in Toronto, Ont.

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